I selected a 10-week course in English Literature which is part of a first-year undergraduate module for student teachers undertaking the Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree. This overall module addressed the fundamentals of language, English methods and socio-cultural dimensions of literature, with particular attention on primary-school junior classes and early-childhood settings. My part of the module addressed the literature component and comprise one class session per week and a discussion forum which involved reflective, collaborative and critical engagement with weekly journal articles on youth-literature scholarship. Students explored a range of children’s literature (especially addressing picturebooks, visual storytelling, and multimedia youth texts and culture) in order to consider these texts’ potential for supporting and stimulating learning environments, aesthetic engagement and creative opportunities for young people.
Together we examined concepts, discourses and youth publishing practices around childhood, justice, identity, class, race, gender, belonging, and power. Topics, texts and genres addressed during the course included conceptualisations of childhood, White privilege and youth literature, postmodernism and youth literature, historical picturebooks and History Education, picturebooks and Social Justice Education, national identity in the American Girl doll collections and associated youth literature, and transmedia Disney texts and story environments.